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Legal Empowerment of the Poor through Property Rights Reform: Tensions and Trade-offs of Land Registration and Titling in Sub-Saharan Africa

Catherine Boone,

This resource comes from the Journal of Development Studies, 2019 Vol. 55, No. 3, 384–400. Land registration and titling in Africa is often advocated as a pro-poor legal empowerment strategy. Advocates have put forth different visions of the substantive goals this is to achieve. Some see registration and titling as a way to protect smallholders’…

Can Business Rights Alleviate Group-Based Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa? Understanding the Limits to Reform

Scott D. Taylor,

This resource is from The Journal of Development Studies 2019, Vol. 55, No. 3, 420 – 436. Africa’s indigenous minorities face unique constraints, particularly in terms of engaging in even the most basic business activities. They typically lack business rights, but, even where such rights have been extended, they have had scant impact on group…

Sierra Leone Community Paralegals: Recognition and Financing Research Brief

Namati,

This research brief is part of a series that reviews the nature of the work undertaken by community paralegals, and the extent to which that work is recognized or funded by government. In 2012, the Sierra Leonean government adopted a legal aid law that recognizes the role paralegals play in delivering justice services and calls for a…

Malawi Community Paralegals: Recognition and Financing Research Brief

Namati,

This research brief is part of a series that reviews the nature of the work undertaken by community paralegals, and the extent to which that work is recognized or funded by government. Malawi’s Legal Aid Act recognizes “Legal Aid Assistants,” who are not qualified as legal practitioners, but are authorized to work full-time as a service provider with…

Nigeria Community Paralegals: Recognition & Financing

Namati,

This research brief is part of a series that reviews the nature of the work undertaken by community paralegals, and the extent to which that work is recognized or funded by government. In Nigeria, Paralegals are provided some formal recognition under Nigeria’s Legal Aid Act of 2011. Paralegals operate mostly in civil matters. The first briefs published for…

Kenya Community Paralegals: Recognition and Financing Research Brief

Namati,

This research brief is part of a series that reviews the nature of the work undertaken by community paralegals, and the extent to which that work is recognized or funded by government. In Kenya, community paralegals are recognized in the Legal Aid Act of 2016. They are referred to formally as “paralegals.” The first briefs published for…

Zambia National Legal Aid Policy 2018

Republic of Zambia Ministry of Justice,

From the Zambia National Legal Aid Policy 2018, which has progressive policies around accessing justice, including the formal recognition of community paralegals: The Government of the Republic of Zambia has committed itself to enhancing equal access to justice particularly for the poor and vulnerable people, as part of its efforts to observe the rule of…

Vices of Discrimination: The Impacts of Vetting and Delays in the Issuance of ID Cards in Kenya

Namati ,

This policy brief aims to highlight the plight of Kenyans who face difficulties in getting identity cards due to their ethnicity. It sheds light on how the discretionary and discriminatory processes they endure delay the issuance of their ID cards and further demonstrates how these delays endanger the wellbeing of the applicants and their families. The…

The South African Citizenship Act (Act 88 of 1995)

The Parliament of the Republic of South Africa,

The South African Citizenship Act is the sole act which regulates citizenship in South Africa. It must be interpreted in the spirit of the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution which states: “No citizen may be deprived of citizenship” and that South Africans share an equal citizenship.” – Section 20 Published in 1995,…

Childhood Statelessness in South Africa

Lawyers for Human Rights, The Institute for Statelessness and Inclusion,

This short booklet is a collection of real stories which illustrate the problems children in South Africa face with access to citizenship. It also recommends a solution and records the recommendations made by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on the relevant issue.

A Historic Step Towards Securing Community Land Rights in Kenya

Posted by Jaron Vogelsang in Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News

This article was originally published by Thomson Reuters Foundation. Indigenous, pastoralist communities in Kenya made history last week by marching to the nation’s capital to demand official registration for their communal lands. This was unprecedented and the culmination of years of effort to empower communities to understand and claim their land rights. In 2016, the Government of…

Q&A: Legal empowerment as a beacon for environmental justice in Sierra Leone

Posted by Daniel Sesay in Environment, Land & Natural Resources

To spur economic growth, the government of Sierra Leone has been aggressively courting large-scale agriculture and mining investments. These have often led to the exploitation of communities and environmental devastation. Namati supports communities to protect customary land rights, challenge land grabs, remedy environmental harm, and, if they wish, negotiate fair deals with investors. This Q&A…

Five Ways Legal Empowerment Efforts Can Improve Maternal Health

Posted by Ellie Feinglass in Community Paralegals, Health

Over the past thirty years, we’ve seen massive overall reductions in the numbers of women dying during pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal deaths around the world dropped from an estimated 532,000 in 1990 to 303,000 in 2015. Yet inequalities are growing both between and within countries. In Mozambique, the rate of maternal mortality is among the…

Stopping the Digital ID Register in Kenya – A Stand Against Discrimination

Posted by Mustafa Mahmoud in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Citizenship, Namati News

On April 1, the High Court of Kenya heard arguments challenging the legality of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), popularly known as Huduma Namba, and demands to delay the rollout of the controversial system. This is after waves of pressure from civil society organizations, including our partners at Nubian Rights Forum and Haki…

A Father Without an Identity – Samson’s Story

Posted by Namati in Citizenship, Community Paralegals

The first time Samson tried to get his identity card, he was 19. He and his friend went to the registrar’s office where they were both asked to “give something small” (a bribe) if that wanted to be attended to. His friend complied, but Samson did not have any money. A few weeks later, he…

A Herder, a Paralegal, a Protector of the Commons – Francis’ Story

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources

Francis first heard the news in late 2017: The village leaders responsible for managing Kuku B’s community land were reportedly holding secret meetings with private investors. This is all too common in Kenya, he knew what would come next: the leaders would sub-divide, privatize, and sell off parcels of the community’s land, leaving him and…

From a Land Grab to a Fair Deal – A Story from Masimra Town

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources

Political power often enables corporate abuse. The Masimra community in Port Loko District, Sierra Leone can, unfortunately, attest to this after politicians elected by them to protect their interests instead opened them up to exploitation. In 2009, the then Deputy Minister of Trade and the Chairman of Port Loko District Council ushered the Dutch-owned agricultural…

Pressing for Privacy Rights – Silvia’s Story

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Health

It was at the end of 2017 that Silvia* first noticed the sores on her skin. Over the coming months, they got worse. She developed a persistent fever and was constantly exhausted. By March, her weight had dropped from 85 kgs to 70. Silvia knew what the symptoms suggested; she knew she should get an…

“I was ashamed to say what I had and how I felt…”

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Gender, Health

Chicuque Rural Hospital is a reference health facility for Maxixe District and the 2nd largest health facility in Inhambane Province, Mozambique. Since September 2017, community members were complaining about the lack of privacy in the health facility due to inadequate space for consultations. According to the community, it was common for two providers to attend…

Case Filed to Stop New Digital ID Register in Kenya

Posted by Mustafa Mahmoud in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Citizenship, Namati News

On the 18th of February 2019, the government of Kenya rolled out the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), more popularly known as Huduma Namba (Swahili for “Service Number”). The system is intended to create and operate a national population register as a single source of information about citizens and foreign residents. It has been…

The World’s First Book on Community Paralegals

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, General, Namati News, Resources & Research

I am thrilled to share a new book with you: Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice. Community paralegals demystify law and empower people to advocate for themselves. They are at the heart of our movement for justice. But they have been largely ignored by scholars and writers. This book starts to fill that void….

How not to conduct Large-scale Agricultural Investments

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources

This piece by Namati Sierra Leone Director Sonkita Conteh explores how not to conduct large-scale agricultural investments in Sierra Leone: lessons from the Malen/Socfin land dispute. http://standardtimespress.org/?p=8383

Court Orders Oil Palm Company to Return Land and Pay Arrears of Rent to Landowners in Sierra Leone

Posted by Namati in Land & Natural Resources, Namati News

Press Release Freetown, Sierra Leone, November 6, 2018 — The High Court of Sierra Leone has ordered bailiffs to return 41,582 hectares of land previously leased to Sierra Leone Agriculture Ltd (SLA) to three land-owning communities in Bureh, Kasseh, and Maconteh Chiefdoms in Port Loko District in northern Sierra Leone. The Indian-owned and Singapore-based company SIVA…

The Land Rights Act victory in Liberia means the work has just begun

Posted by Rachael Knight and Ali Kaba in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources

In September, Liberia passed the long-awaited Land Rights bill into law, representing a major victory for community land rights, but the work has only just begun. This new op-ed in PLACE by Namati’s Rachael Knight and Ali Kaba of the Sustainable Development Institute highlights key provisions of the new law and calls for a nation-wide…

What next for Sierra Leone’s endangered forests?

Posted by Sonkita Conteh, Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources

Last week, the government of Sierra Leone announced that all forest logging concessions are to be suspended “with immediate effect.” This was welcomed news in a country with only 5% original forest cover remaining. In this op-ed in Place, Sonkita Conteh, Director of Namati Sierra Leone, writes that now “the government must work to ensure…

Bad-Faith Contracts & Unjust Investments – How can communities protect their interests?

Posted by Rachael Knight & Kaitlin Cordes in Community Land Protection, Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

Deciding whether or not to allow an investor to use community lands and natural resources is one of the most important decisions a community can make. Namati and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) have published two new guides to help communities prepare for interactions with investors and, if they so wish, negotiate fair, equitable contracts….

New Guides Help Communities to Negotiate Fair Contracts with Investors

Posted by Namati, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment in Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

WASHINGTON, DC — With investors increasingly turning to more remote locations for the establishment of forestry, agribusiness, mining, and infrastructure projects, it is critical that communities worldwide gain a practical understanding of contract negotiations, according to two new guides by Namati and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI).   Launched today, the Community-Investor Negotiation…

Protect Sierra Leone’s Timber Before It’s Too Late

Posted by Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Environment, General, Land & Natural Resources

Sierra Leone’s forests are disappearing because of the timber trade. Sonkita Conteh, Director of Namati Sierra Leone, calls on the government to do its job, to put people and environment ahead of profits, and to protect the country’s land before it’s too late in the Concord Times.

An open letter to President Bio: Keep plunderers out of our endangered forests for good.

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

In a must-read open letter, Sonkita Conteh, Director of Namati Sierra Leone, calls on the president of Sierra Leone to keep his word to protect the endangered forests of the country. He calls resuming timber exports “short-sighted and dangerous” and a “desecration of pre-election commitments” and notes that “no amount of money will equal the value of…

Op-ed: Unrestrained resource exploitation in Sierra Leone is a “dangerous gamble”

Posted by Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News

In an op-ed in the Sierra Express Media, Sonkita Conteh, Director of Namati Sierra Leone, calls “unrestrained resource exploitation” in Sierra Leone a “dangerous gamble,” and calls on the new government to commit to environmental regulation that puts people ahead of profits, and justice ahead of development.

Desperate to Leave: Foinda Community Takes Action Against Mining Company

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

“Our situation has worsened, our only water source is destroyed, and our farm lands have been turned into a mining field. We cannot sleep due to heavy noise and vibrations. Our roads have been diverted. …Our livelihood is threatened by the operations of Sierra Rutile mining company.” — Mr. Massaquoi, 52, Foinda community.  Foinda is a…

Ugandan Community Stops Illegal Sale of their Land

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources

In 2016, officials from the Amolatar district in Northern Uganda approached Okello Alex* with an offer. They wanted to buy land from him for a prison farm. Okello agreed. But there was an issue: it was not his land to sell. The land belonged to Alemere community—a fact that both Okello and the officials knew…

Sierra Leone’s Small Towns Learn to Fight Against Land Grabs

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

When a multinational company displaced communities and polluted lands in Sierra Leone, villagers felt angry and helpless. When those same communities partnered with paralegals to understand, use, and shape the law, they said “the law is with us now” and pushed back. This piece in Ozy profiles how communities in Sierra Leone are using legal…

Delivering Maternal Rights and Justice in Mozambique

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Gender, Health

When Mariamo* arrived at her local health center in Mozambique on a Sunday night in April 2017, she found the maternity ward empty. Her labor pains were intense. A security guard ran to the staff living quarters to inform the nurse on night duty. Without performing a physical exam, the nurse declared that Mariamo was not yet…

Twenty-Nine Years Without an Identity

Posted by Namati in Citizenship, Community Paralegals

The pickpocketer was fast. In the blink of an eye, Mahmoud’s wallet was gone. He lost the cash that was in it, his driving license and—worst of all—his identity card. Without an ID card in Kenya, you cannot vote. You cannot open a bank account or get a loan. You cannot gain admission to school…

Join a Learning Exchange on Citizenship Rights

Posted by Namati in Citizenship, Community Paralegals, Global Legal Empowerment Network, Namati News, Opportunities

The greatest tool we have to tackle the world’s most pressing justice issues is each other. Sharing successes and challenges can help shape and strengthen our work, and in the process, the whole movement grows. That’s why we’re excited to offer this important opportunity. From October 7 – 19 in Kenya, the Global Legal Empowerment Network…

5 Lessons Learned From Applying a Legal Empowerment Approach to Community Land Protection in Sierra Leone

Posted by Hassan Sesay in Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources

The Namati team in Sierra Leone is engaged in an ongoing effort to discover sustainable measures for community ownership, management, and administration of land and natural resources throughout the country. To this end, we have taken on a new project: the application of a legal empowerment approach to community land protection. Land administration in Sierra…

Podcast: Can Legal Empowerment Change Power Dynamics?

Posted by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Community Paralegals, Environment, General, Land & Natural Resources

Access to justice is a key governance concern in developed and developing countries alike. Community legal workers aim to help poor or comparatively powerless people defend themselves against land grabs, obtain public services, and challenge corruption. Can this bottom-up approach counter powerful interests seeking to entrench their control? Can legal empowerment help respond to rising…

Nationality Rights of the Nubian Child – Namati and Partners Submit a Policy Brief to ACERWC

Posted by Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Citizenship

On March 22, 2011, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) found Kenya to be in violation of the African Children’s Rights Charter. The case and verdict were based on the discriminatory rules and practices applied to Nubian children that denied them formal recognition of their Kenyan nationality. Without…

Video: Sonkita Conteh speaks about the paralegal approach in Sierra Leone at the “Solutions Summit”

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News

Namati’s Vivek Maru and Sonkita Conteh were among the 16 individuals honored with the Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2017. As one of the 9 honorees from sub-Sahara Africa, Sonkita was invited to attend the “Solutions Summit” which took place in Durban in early May, directly ahead of the World Economic Forum on…

Negotiating large-scale land deals in Sierra Leone: a paralegal approach

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources

In a new article for Place, Namati’s Sierra Leone director, Sonkita Conteh, describes how community paralegals have been helping communities in Sierra Leone to secure better deals with big investor looking to lease their land. An excerpt of the article follows below. Three years ago I wrote about how communities in Sierra Leone were getting the short end of…

LEGEND Land Policy Bulletin: “Namati’s experience of using GeoODK GPS Mapping”

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Community Land Protection

Maps are critical tools that assist communities in securing formal legal recognition of their rights to customary land and supporting local land governance. However, the map-making support Namati could provide to communities in Africa and Asia was, until recently, limited to hand-drawn sketches. GPS and satellite technologies were too costly and technically complex. In 2016, Namati partnered with…

Sierra Leone Land Policy: An Open Letter to President Koroma

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Land & Natural Resources

Dear Mr. President, Last Thursday I was at State House to witness the low-key start of a potentially profound revolution in the land sector. For decades, our people and the environment have borne the scourge of a broken land tenure system. Many attempting to buy land to build a future for their families have lost…

Sensitizing Health Workers to the Needs of the Elderly in Mozambique

Posted by Ellie Feinglass in Community Paralegals, Health

Davide de Conceição is a Namati health advocate in Mozambique, supporting a busy facility in Inhambane Province. In 2016, he began hearing complaints from elderly patients about the lack of courtesy and respect they were shown during their clinic visits. Ministry of Health policy states that elderly patients should receive priority attention at health facilities,…

Privacy for Patients

Posted by Ellie Feinglass in Community Paralegals, Health

Our health advocate Lina, who works in a busy district hospital, received a complaint from a group of HIV patients regarding the lack of privacy in the hospital pharmacy.  Large numbers of patients at the were crowding around the windows where prescriptions are disbursed, making it easy for others to see which medicines each patient had been given.  A number of HIV patients reportedly…

Delivery Amid Abuse

Posted by Ellie Feinglass in Community Paralegals, Gender, Health

Alcina has lived her entire life in an isolated coastal village in Mozambique’s southern region, without access to electricity, running water, or transport. She gave birth to her three children at the local health center – a 17km trek from her home. Within moments of each delivery, she was forced to get out of bed…

Liberia is at a crossroads: recognising land rights can safeguard against violence

Posted by Jennifer Duncan and Jaron Vogelsang in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources

This article was originally published by Thompson Reuters Foundation.   The government of Liberia has an unprecedented opportunity to pass progressive land reform legislation that could positively impact millions of people, but the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. If Liberia’s legislature doesn’t vote to adopt the draft Land Rights Act before it goes on recess…

BBC Africa: Sierra Leone Land Grab Thwarted

Posted by McKinley Charles in Community Land Protection, Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News

Over 70 families in Nimiyama Chiefdom, Sierra Leone have had their land returned after taking a large multinational company to court. Local leaders had sold the families’ land to Orient Agriculture Ltd. without their knowledge or consent. With the support of a Namati community paralegal, the affected families learned about their right and how to…

New book on protecting community lands and resources in Africa from Namati and Natural Justice

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

In 2013, a group of 20 expert advocates from across Africa gathered for a three-day symposium to share experiences and practical strategies for effectively supporting communities to protect their lands and natural resources. The symposium illuminated many similarities between the types of threats to communities’ land and natural resource claims, as well as underlying factors that drive and exacerbate…

Namati Welcomes Sierra Leone’s Progressive New National Land Policy

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Land & Natural Resources

Sierra Leone’s new National Land Policy, recently approved by the cabinet, presents a progressive and ambitious plan for protecting land rights that will strengthen women’s access to land, give communities a bigger say over land management and create a better framework for major land investments. All of which is urgently in need if Sierra Leone’s…

Justice & Identity in Kibera

Posted by Paul McCann in Citizenship

Kibera, reputedly Africa’s largest informal settlement, is not an easy place to find your way around. In this story and photo gallery Namati’s partner, the Nubian Rights Forum, introduce us to the crowded lanes that are home to their community. We meet some of their clients, Kenyan Nubians struggling with a discriminatory system that makes it…

Recommendations for addressing bribery in the health sector

Posted by Namati Mozambique in Health

Namati Mozambique has produced an essential guide for patients and specialist on how to avoid bribery in the Mozambican health sector. The guide contains a series of recommendations for both policy and practice focused on the identification, prevention and combat of bribery in the health sector in Mozambique. It is a practical tool that can be used by patients,…

Sustainability of Paralegal Projects

Posted by Mustafa Mahmoud in Community Paralegals

I was reading a beautiful article by @caitlinpierce about private sector as an alternative option for funding for paralegal work and it has inspired me to write this piece. For the past six months I have been trying to think of how to sustain the Kenya citizenship paralegal project when its funding is lifted. We…

Large scale land investments and Sierra Leone’s draft National Land Policy

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Land & Natural Resources

Sonkita Conteh, Diector of Namati Sierra Leone, discusses how the country’s upcoming land reform could approach large scale and foreign investment into land, originally published at OSIWA.org   A series of short videos on the website of Sierra Leone’s investment promotion agency (SLIEPA) tout the country as one of the most attractive oases for investment. “Business friendly…

In Portuguese: Defending the Right to Health in Mozambique

Posted by Verdade in Health

The Mozambican newspaper Verdade has published a profile of Namati’s work, explaining how we use health advocates to defend patients’ rights to healthcare. The article is available at this link in Portuguese.

Videos on Community Land Protection

Posted by Rachael Knight in Community Land Protection, Namati News

Namati is thrilled to release four new videos that illustrate our approach to Community Land Protection. The first video is an overview of our approach, while the second and third videos describe the challenging work of making maps, resolving land conflicts, harmonizing boundaries with neighbors, drafting by-laws to ensure just and equitable governance, and electing diverse…

Call for New Partners: Community Land Protection

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Community Land Protection, Environment, Namati News

Namati is looking for new partners to adapt our approach to support communities in their regions. Drawing on five years of research and field-testing, Namati and our partners have designed a powerful four-step process for protecting community lands and natural resources. Our approach supports communities to map their resources, harmonize boundaries, and formally register their…

Talking Health Rights

Posted by Paul McCann in Health

Cacilda Fumo is one of Namati’s health advocates – a compassionate champion of patient rights. At the 1st of May Health Center in Maputo, Mozambique, where HIV and TB patients seek treatment from an over-stretched public health service, she is a regular presence – explaining to people not only how they can stay healthy, but what they can expect…

‘I just need my freedom’

Posted by AdvocAid & IRIN in Community Paralegals, Gender

This moving documentary by IRIN follows the work of Marvel and Victoria, two paralegals working for Namati’s partner AdvocAid in Sierra Leone. It illustrates the harsh reality of life for many women in Sierra Leone who come into contact with the police and the prison system. Marvel and Victoria bring hope to those suffering arbitrary…

Using paralegals to fight forced early marriage in Sierra Leone

Posted by Daniel Sesay in Community Paralegals

Early and forced marriage continues to be a widespread and serious problem in post-war Sierra Leone, especially in rural areas. It has become a common practice that abuses the rights of children and girls. Early marriage, also known as child marriage, is the marriage of someone before the age of 18 years. Such marriages are…

No Consent in Nimiyama Chiefdom

Posted by Karima Tawfik in Land & Natural Resources

Innovative Legal Remedies to Protect  Land Rights in Sierra Leone By Karima Tawfik For one woman in Nimiyama Chiefdom in eastern Sierra Leone, the first sign of trouble came when she went into her family’s fields to brush for planting and was told to leave immediately because the land had been “sold.” For another landowner, it…

Community Land Mapping in Liberia on Film

Posted by Namati in Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources

The work of Namati’s Liberian partner, the Sustainable Development Institute, has been captured on film by the climate change campaign organisation If Not Us Then Who. Made by Handcrafted Films for their Inspirational People strand, the short film shows the community mapping that rural people use to begin the process of protecting their lands. In a country where over half…

ABC News on Kenya’s Prison Paralegals

Posted by ABC News in Community Paralegals

Australia’s ABC News has captured the groundbreaking work of Global Legal Empowerment Network member Kituo cha Sheria in the prison system in Kenya. The program, Foreign Correspondent, shows prisoner paralegals working to bring justice for those wrongly imprisoned – often without trial. Kituo’s Aimee Ongeso told the filmmakers: “It is very challenging to go into…

No Consent in Nimiyama Chiefdom

Posted by Karima Tawfik in Land & Natural Resources

Innovative Legal Remedies to Protect  Land Rights in Sierra Leone By Karima Tawfik For one woman in Nimiyama Chiefdom in eastern Sierra Leone, the first sign of trouble came when she went into her family’s fields to brush for planting and was told to leave immediately because the land had been “sold.” For another landowner, it…

BBC documentary on network member Kituo cha Sheria wins global award

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Global Legal Empowerment Network

A documentary about a prisoner paralegal program run by Kenyan network member Kituo cha Sheria has won the top radio prize in the prestigious One World Media awards in London.

Kenyan legal empowerment advocates urge government to adopt Access to Justice target for MDGs

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Post-2015 Agenda

Network organization Kituo Cha Sheria has called on Kenyan Parliament to endorse Access to Justice as a target in the post-2015 Millenium Development Goals, and to approve the Legal Aid Bill currently under consideration.

“We have customs that do not allow women to inherit land”

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Community Paralegals, Gender

Formal laws now on the books in Tanzania grant women the right to inherit land. But certain customs dictate that land should remain under a man’s ownership. Jamila Lugembe explains how her organization is working in rural communities to ensure women know their legal rights and how to exercise them.

“Many took up arms because of the injustices they suffered”

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Community Paralegals

An interview with Daniel Sesay Daniel Sesay began working as a paralegal when he joined Timap for Justice following his involvement with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the early 2000’s.  He is now a Program Officer with Namati-Sierra Leone.  Daniel is playing a leading role in the national scale-up of paralegal activities across the…

The problem with “girl child compensation”

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Community Paralegals, Gender

In South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria, custom dictates that justice for the murder of an opposing clan member can be attained by surrendering a girl to the aggrieved clan. This practice violates the country’s formal legal code. What should be done? South Sudanese attorney John Mabor explains.

“He was torturing a suspect before my very eyes”

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Community Paralegals, Global Legal Empowerment Network

As a young boy, Chimwemwe Ndlahoma experienced firsthand the tragic effects of an overburdened criminal justice system in Malawi. Today, the government is supporting paralegals to radically transform its once-broken institutions.

“Paralegal work has been very important to women in our community”

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Community Paralegals, Gender, Global Legal Empowerment Network

A woman’s husband dies and the town chief takes sides with her in-laws. Judith Ochanda, a community paralegal in Kenya, explains what happens next.

“Paralegals support the justice system as a whole”

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Community Paralegals, Global Legal Empowerment Network

Nomboniso Nangu Maqubela, the Interim National Coordinator for South Africa’s National Alliance for the Development of Community Advice Offices (NADCAO), discusses grassroots efforts to win formal recognition of community-based paralegals in a forthcoming Legal Practice Bill.

Kampala Declaration Calls for Support for Community Paralegals

Posted by Abigail Moy in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Community Paralegals, Global Legal Empowerment Network, Opportunities

Namati’s Abigail Moy discusses the Kampala Declaration and the recognition of paralegals in legal aid legislation across Africa.

Exploring the community level impact of paralegals in rural Sierra Leone

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Community Paralegals

This article originally appeared in Sierra Express Media. Introduction A previous article by the author explored the work and impact of community-based paralegals in the lives of ordinary people in rural areas, through the lens of a number of case studies depicting real life justice problems of individuals and how paralegals helped resolve them. That effort…